Waves and electromagnetic radiation


Characteristics of waves

Amplitude- maximum displacement of a point on a wave, away from it's undisturbed position.

Frequency- the number of waves passing a point each second and it measured in hertz (Hz)

Wavelength- is the distance from a point on one wave to the same point on the adjacent wave and is measured in metre (m)

Period- time taken for a particle to undergo one vibrational cycle measured in seconds (s)

1 of 8

What are electromagnetic waves?

Electromagnetic waves are waves that are created as a result of vibrations between a magnetic and electric field

2 of 8

What are the seven types?

Radio waves (30cm-5--mm)                   Raging

Microwaves (15cm)                               Marshmallows

Infrared (0.01mm)                                 Invaded 

Visible light                                          Venus

Ultraviolet (500 nanometers)                  Using

X-rays (0.1 nanometres)                        X-ray

Gamma rays (0.000001 nanometres)      Guns

3 of 8

Typical uses

Radio waves- television signals

Microwaves- cooking, mobile phones

Infrared- optical fibre, communication

Visible light- seeing

Ultraviolet- detecting forged bank notes

X-rays- medical images of bones

Gamma radiation- Killing cancer cells

4 of 8

Typical dangers

Radio waves- safe unless very concentrated

Microwaves- burning if concentrated

Infrared- burning if concentrated

Visible light- burning, blindness if concentrated

Ultra-violet light- sunburn, skin cancer

X-rays- cell destruction, cell mutation, cancer

Gamma rays- cell destruction, cell mutation, cancer

5 of 8

Why do all waves travel at the same speed?

In general, loght travels in waves and all electromagnetic radiation travels at the same speed which is about 3.0 × 10^8 per second through a vacuum. This is called the 'speed of light', nothing can move faster than this.

6 of 8

Properties of electromagnetic waves and how are th

  • Carry transverse vibrations in electrical and magnetic fields, not vibrating particles.
  • Don not need matter to travel through, can travel through a vacuum
  • In a vacuum, all waves travel at approximately  3 ×10^8- the fastest speed possible
  • When the waves travel though matter that travel a bit slower than this but less than 1/2 as fast in a vacuum.

An electromagnetic wave can be creates by accelerating charges, moving charges back and forth will produce oscillating electric and magnetic fields.

7 of 8

Wave equation

Wave speed (v) = frequency (f) × wavelength( λ)

8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar Physics resources:

See all Physics resources »See all Waves resources »